Working around other people might feel like a distant dream for many, but we still have the future to look forward to — and any number of Zoom meetings until then. Staying focused on the task at hand can feel impossible, especially if you're juggling needy kids or multiple responsibilities. While we're all adapting as best we can, some preconceptions are sticking with us, even as everything else changes.
Researchers at the University of Kansas have zeroed in on one communication habit in particular that can make or break your colleagues' or supervisors' impression of you. In a newly published study, the team finds that one of the very best and easiest things you can do during a work meeting of any sort is pretty simple and passive: Just put away your phone.
"We know you can do work on your phone," said lead author Cameron Piercy, but "we assume that you're not working when we see you're using it."
Even if you're looking up something relevant to the topic at hand, or you're taking notes, coworkers tend to see your phone use as a snub (the study authors use the term "phubbing"). There's some truth to the impression. However good we think we are at multitasking, we're actually not built for that kind of split attention. The researchers also found that acknowledging the phone and apologizing for using it don't tend to sway your fellows. If you do need to bring some kind of device to a meeting, a laptop is better than a phone, and a paper notebook is probably the best of all.